How was magic practised in medieval times? How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterised this fascinating period?. How was magic practiced in medieval times? How did it relate to the diverse beliefs and practices that characterized this fascinating period? Richard Kieckhefer. ‘Richard Kieckhefer offers a panoramic view of a very diverse set of problems in his cogently organised and revealing book imaginative and stimulating ‘.

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My library Help Advanced Book Search. A clerical underground is described as a mixture of young clerics, chantry priests, monks and Friars, and what connected them was broadly a combination of free time and partial or incomplete training. This definition proved to be problematic because it was pretty subjective, but love magic was widely considered sorcery, as were cases midd,e impotence.

Turning to Germanic and Celtic influences, Kieckhefer doesn’t downplay the difficulties of using later Christian sources, but he looks at a range of sources: The author writes in a very dry, scholarly way, and it wasn’t really the material I was hoping for. It is also surprising to see who is doing the magic and it was not always mean old hags!

Very revealing book about magic in general. The European Scientific Tradition in It’s a fascinating read! History lovers, those interested in the history of magic.

Magic in the Middle Ages

William of Auvergne a theologian and bishop of Paris acknowledged the distinction between natural and demonic magic. Undoubtedly the implications of church doctrine underpin this stereotype, and yet equally it is shown that the structure of society plays an important role too.

This book places magic at the crossroads of medieval culture, shedding light on many other aspects of life in the Middle Ages. In the Norse Sagas, words were the main source of magic, but in the romances gems play a much more prominent role, as do potions, herbs and artefacts with marvellous properties. With the flow of new translations of Arabic texts came many new ideas regarding Alchemy and Astrology, which also had Greek influences too.


Theologians got prickly about invocations and images, but that didn’t keep people from using them. But of course the more “expensive” forms of magic were specific to courts: Jun 04, Freyja Vanadis rated it liked it. Overall, this book cleared up a lot of misconceptions that popular culture has passed down over the centuries about those who practiced natural or demonic magic.

I think you would enjoy this material if you enjoy more if you enjoy that style of writing. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Account Options Sign in. The chapter on necromancy is the most original, based largely on unpublished manuscripts and arguing for a new interpretation of the material. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

And that turned important both for Medicine and Magic; even for Philosophy.

Magic in the Middle Ages – Richard Kieckhefer – Google Books

He examines its relation to religion, science, philosophy, Magic in the Middle Ages. Magic in the Middle Ages. There are adequate notes, but they are kept to a minimum, with a good bibliography at the end.

He offers up a fairly thorough set of studies into what at various times has magci ‘magic’ and the manners in which it has been conceived, employed, and often punished. Consigliato, se vi interessa l’argomento, soprattutto come introduzione generale alla tematica. Having said this, many charms did also contain pre-Christian elements and their evolution is described.

Kieckhefer’s prose is clear but struggles to create a sense of mystique that is so intertwined with the subject matter, despite his many colourful examples o For those wondering what flavour of academia they are getting into with this book, it is a dense but very readable undergraduate-level introduction to the topic.


The key p Richard Kieckefer has written a broad, detailed and objective examination of magic in the Middle Ages. Middlf finds cases where “even when magic was most explicitly demonic, then it held a kind of romantic fascination”. Account Options Sign in. Richard Kieckhefer is Professor of Religion and History at Northwestern University and an acknowledged expert on medieval magic and witchcraft. The former was believed to make use of natural but occult hidden powers within nature and was essentially a branch of science, whilst the latter involved demons, whether implicitly or explicitly, and was heavily connected with religion.

Divination and popular astrology were also part of the tradition, as was “performative” magic that used trickery and sleight of hand for entertainment. Apr 14, Alannah Clarke rated it it was ok Shelves: The increase in law education meant that expert opinion was increasingly sought, causing a magiv nuanced approach to who was prosecuted and for what.

The existence of large numbers of people who had a little religious training was one factor contributing to a ,agic underworld” where necromancy was practised.

They were, in fact, responsible for much of the magic that you hear was practiced back then. Covering the years c. Other fun bits include K’s discussion of how Islamic science filtered up into the European backwater and were the sourc This is a perfectly fine look at what the heck magic meant to people, lay or otherwise, especially otherwise.

Yet, by the 12th century the definition by Isidore of Seville was a good one; it implied magic as a source of “divination” and encompassed several “disciplines”: